Our Parents are Cooler Than Us

The other day I was out shopping, and I saw a family walking together, and for some odd reason I couldn’t help but notice how cool the father of the family looked. Sporting a pair of above-the-knee jean shorts, a retro looking T-shirt, and the signature white pair of new balance sneakers, he had everything he needed to fulfill the characteristics of “dad fashion.”

I started to look around at the younger people walking around, and I found just as many people my age wearing clothes that you could find in your parents’ closet. Shorter shorts on men, bell-bottom and “mom-style” jeans on the women. A lot of younger guys are even rocking mustaches and mullets for the first time in decades.

I truly believe that if a time traveler from the 1980s to the 1990s came to our world today, they could fit right in if you were judging them solely on appearance.

Retail companies are taking notice, releasing a large amount of retro themed products, ranging from selling cans and coolers with throwback designs to clothing brands marketing their apparel as “retro” for added value.

Other areas of pop culture are experiencing this as well. In the music industry, 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo has exploded in popularity with her song “Good 4 U”. I have seen many comparisons online between this song and older punk-pop songs from the early 2000s. Perhaps this is a reason her music is doing so well. She reminds us of the past and it helps us escape the reality of our current lives.

It’s not unusual for trends and styles to cycle back into rotation over time and history does tend to repeat itself, but I feel like recently this has happened much faster than usual. Ever since the pandemic began, I have noticed that more and more people are hopping on the bandwagon of reverting to retro style.

I think the reason for this is rooted in a desire to go back to times when our current issues didn’t exist yet. While there were just as many issues to deal with back in the day, bringing back the good things from the past is helping a lot of us feel like we are back in a better time when COVID wasn’t interfering with the stability of our lives.

Another reason why I think this happens is because it gives us the thrill of doing new things without actually having to do something new. The younger generation never really had the chance to get a mullet and fit in with the rest of their peers before. So we aren’t actually inventing new trends; we are just making old ones cool again.

Regardless of the reason or motivation of this trend, I encourage you to look around and see it happen for yourself, because trust me, once you see it you won’t be able to miss it.


Narvin Chhay is a UCF junior majoring in sport and exercise science. He can be reached at narvinc@knights.ucf.edu.

The UCF Forum is a weekly series of opinion columns from faculty, staff and students who serve on a panel for a year. A new column is posted each Wednesday on UCF Today and then broadcast on WUCF-FM (89.9) between 7:50 and 8 a.m. Sunday. Columns are archived in the campus library’s STARS collection and as WUCF podcasts. Opinions expressed are those of the columnists, and are not necessarily shared by the University of Central Florida.

Narvin Chhay, UCF Forum columnist
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